June 19, 2010

It takes twelve muscles to smile

Bright has decided to become a helicopter pilot.  Specifically, a rescue helicopter pilot.  He wants to pull people up out of flood waters and off of the sides of mountains.  He decided this all on his own and out of the blue.  To be honest, I am not at all surprised.  He would be a perfect helicopter pilot.  He is steady, decisive, focused, and a very good driver.  The first time he drove his cousin Eliana's pink Mustang convertible, he hopped in, dropped it in reverse, looked over his shoulder, backed out, popped it in drive, and took off.  I've seen him park it flawlessly between a tool shelf and a hot rod, in reverse, while holding a stuffed animal with one hand and talking to me about lunch.  He could definitely pin a helicopter in the air in a storm above a drowning child.  If anybody could that, Bright could do that.

Bright comes up with things that mystify me.  He'll say something to me and its as if he just tossed sequins all over the place.  Sequins on my shirt, in the sink, under my socks.  He's like a sparkle machine.  He may not be the one sparkling, but everything around him is.

I just saw an ad in a magazine for Lays potato chips.  The add read, "It takes twelve muscles to smile."  That's funny because Bright has been saying for months that he has 12 muscles.  He'll say, "I'll carry that for you, Mom.  I've got 12 muscles."  He sure gives my 12 muscles a work out.

I stopped setting the kitchen timer the other day.  That had always been my solution to the squabling-over-a-toy problem.  "Five minutes!" I'd say, "and when the timer goes off, it will be Zion's turn."  Earlier this week, though, after I had set the timer for just such an occasion, Bright said, "The timer isn't as good as sharing."  I said, "Bright, you're right.  I won't ever set the timer again.  I will trust you boys to willingly give up the toy to your brother when the time is right."  They have been sharing ever since.

So this morning, when we were swimming together in the late morning heat, and I stopped at the edge of the pool to listen to the birds and take in the smells of the honeysuckle and the grass, I thought about all the times that I've crashed in and out of that pool, not noticing the birds or the flowers at all.  How many times have I crashed in and out of my 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. shift as these boys' mom, never looking up from my damp cloth or my frying pan?  Too many times.  Bright will not always believe that he has only 12 muscles.  He will not always want to be a helicopter pilot.  He will not always ask me to go on a date with him in the shade on the hill beside the driveway.  Therefore, I will look up from my frying pan.  I will turn off the burner, and go on that date with my 5-year-old son, like I did today, in that shade on that hill.  I will pack the snack he suggests, bananas and Dum Dums.  We will carry them up the hill in a tupperware dish.  We will sit in folding chairs, dipping our bananas in Ovaltine powder, and we will find baby elephants wearing feather headdresses in the clouds.

It takes 12 muscles to smile.  It takes takes 12 minutes to bless a child.  12 years from now, I will be glad that I shared Dum dums with Bright in the shade while I had the chance.